Study Guide

A Wreath for Udomo

by Peter Abrahams

A Wreath for Udomo Summary

Summary (Critical Guide to British Fiction)

The novel traces the political rise and fall of Michael Udomo, the inspiring liberator of the (fictitious) nation of Panafrica from British subjugation. Ironically, his ascendancy to power begins in London, the very capital of the British empire, where he arrives a bedraggled, hungry doctoral candidate after studies in Canada and Europe.

Udomo’s education impels him to reject the heavy-handed rule of his colonizers, who would have him‘shine as another “new type of African, consciously and appreciatively learning the art of Western civilized government from his British mentors.” Thus, arriving in London as a veteran student agitator, Udomo assists in organizing a Panafrican nationalist magazine, the Liberator, with four other like-minded Africans: Thomas Lanwood, David Mhendi, Paul Mabi, and Richard Adebhoy. In addition, he becomes an engaging speaker for Africa Freedom Group, Panafrica’s fledgling revolutionary committee.

Despite temptations to settle in southern France and rear a family with his white mistress, Lois Barlow, Udomo hurries back to Queenstown, Panafrica’s seaside capital, after Adebhoy has secured enough supporters to finance a newspaper’s production. He promptly establishes the Queenstown Post in a sparsely furnished, ramshackle office. Unfortunately, his plans to foment a dockworkers’ strike are discouraged by the paper’s self-serving backers, who are using the publication to curry favors...

(The entire section is 487 words.)

A Wreath for Udomo Bibliography (Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Maduka, Chukwudi T. “Colonialism, Nation-Building, and the Revolutionary Intellectual in Peter Abrahams’ A Wreath for Udomo,” in Journal of Southern African Affairs. II (April, 1977), pp. 245-257.

Ogungbesan, Kolawole. The Writings of Peter Abrahams, 1979.

Scanlon, Paul A. “Dream and Reality in Abrahams’ A Wreath for Udomo,” in Obsidian: Black Literature in Review. VI (Spring/Summer, 1980), pp. 25-32.

Wade, Michael. “Peter Abrahams,” in Modern African Writers, 1972. Edited by Gerald Moore.